Sydney Swans forward Tom Papley will miss the start of the new AFL season and could be out for up to six weeks due to a hamstring injury.
The 25-year-old suffered his setback during a practice match against Greater Western Sydney last Friday, with scans confirming that he has sustained a medium grade hamstring strain, for which the recovery period is usually between four and six weeks.
The Swans, who begin their new season at Greater Western Sydney on Saturday March 19th, are 11/20 to secure a top-eight finish and 7/4 to end up in the top four.
And they will have to cope with Papley for their first few fixtures, with Executive GM-Football Charlie Gardiner telling the clubs official website: "Tom has had a terrific pre-season, and while this is clearly a setback, he sets high standards in the way he trains and plays.
"We know he will do everything he can to minimise the disruption to his season.
"We will see what sort of progress Tom makes over the next few weeks, but we're still hopeful of having him available early in the season."
Last season the Swans finished in sixth place in the regular-season standings, ensuring a place in the end-of-season Finals Series.
That set up an elimination final against GWS, who prevailed 11.8(74)-10.13(73) in a thriller which was played at the University of Tasmania Stadium.
Sydney last claimed Grand Final glory back in 2012, when they claimed their fifth title thanks to a 14.7(91)-11.15(81) success against Hawthorn.